After a week that was filled with more events than a Billy Joel song, it’s nice to be able to relax and look back at it all with a clear mind and a bag full of candy. What did you dress up as this Halloween? I went as an adult that can just buy candy and doesn’t have to walk door to door and beg for it, but I’m sure your “binders full of women” or replacement refs or other topical costume was a huge hit. I’m kidding, of course, as there’s nothing wrong with dressing up for Halloween. Heck, even some of the biggest companies in mobile donned costumes. We’ll tell you what they were while reviewing the biggest news from the week of October 29 to November 2, 2012.
Sandy knocks out power grid, can’t stop mobile
Citizens on the east coast of America had more to worry about this week than Halloween, though they’d sure think it was a treat to have power restored. While the main power grids may have been knocked off by the Frankenstorm, mobile tech knows no bounds. Some were able to utilize apps on their mobile devices to stay safe during the hurricane. Others, like the brilliant 11-year old Lucy Walkowiak, were able to use the little power they had to provide others with mobile charging stations. Three of the largest service providers dressed up as one happy family as they attempted to bring power and connections to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you’d like to help, head over to the Red Cross Disaster Relief page and donate your time, money, or blood. You can’t give them five bars of mobile network coverage, but it’ll definitely help.
Google duels Microsoft’s press conference with a blog post
Microsoft dressed up a little early this year, on Monday pretending to be a power player in the mobile industry. After Google had its press conference knocked out by Hurricane Sandy, Microsoft owned the stage as it unveiled tons of features for its Windows Phone 8 devices. The conference left a lingering buzz that Microsoft hasn’t felt for some time when it comes to portable options, but it very well may have just been a sugar high. Not to be outdone, Google came out dressed as the Grinch to Microsoft’s Christmas, releasing its upcoming line up in blog post form. Excitement surrounding Android devices grew, with a contract-less Nexus 4, an operating system update, and exponentially-growing app options. Microsoft had planned to go trick-or-treating with Acer, but the company backed out of plans after bad Windows 8 tablet reviews and delayed its own offering until Summer of 2013. Microsoft responded by, reportedly, starting work on an in-house made device, but all its Windows 8 plans may go awry if SurfCast, a company that has been sporting a troll costume since 2000, wins its patent-based lawsuit against the tech giant. You should have dressed up as an affordable alternative to your opposition, Microsoft. Consumers would have filled your pillow case candy bag with cash.
No one wants an Apple on Halloween
Apple spent all week dressed as a spoiled sport. After being ordered by a judge in the UK to issue a public apology to Samsung, the Cupertino tech manufacturer followed through in a typically snarky way by providing a PR spin after the admission of wrong doing. The judge was not satisfied and has told Apple to amend its apology. We knew judges in the UK sometimes had to wear robes and a wig, but we never thought they’d have to play mom between two companies feuding like siblings. Consider it another pile in Apple issues that are stacked higher than most people’s leaf piles, including a corporate shake up and Tim Cook doing his best Steve Jobs impression during an earnings call. But hey, the iPad Mini launched. Like the “fun size” version of a real candy bar, we’re not sure why you’d choose it, but we’d still eat one if you put it in front of us.
Fresh New App of the Week
Nike+ Kinect Training (Free, iPhone/Windows Phone) – Fitness freaks are likely aware of the workout-related apps that Nike has released. Now Nike wants to capture the cross section of gamers and fitness gurus that get workout plans from their Kinect. This app is designed to work along with the Xbox 360 title Nike+ Kinect Training to give users a more complete workout experience. Track your progress, customize your training efforts, and compete with friends — all in the name of improving your health. It’s probably a much-needed app after a haul of Halloween candy.
Timelapse Studio Pro ($1, iOS) – Put together extended shots into one, quick clip with this app. Just set up the shot and let Timelapse Studio Pro capture the image and create your video.
Fresh New Game of the Week
Air Patriots (Free, iOS/Android) – While Amazon still holds that its tablets are the best, it didn’t want iOS users to miss out on this new twist to the tower defense genre that takes you to the air. Design the flight path of your defense systems and do your best to set up the perfect trap for enemy aircraft. With over 100 waves of survival, you’ll put in more hours in the air than most flight school attendees. Change your tactics at any time by giving your planes new orders and flight patterns.
Borderlands Legends HD ($7, iPad) – The PC and console hit comes to your tablet. It’s got everything you’d expect from the franchise — like ridiculous amounts of guns — but can come with you anywhere.
Heads Up! Hot Dogs (Free, iOS) – Another can’t-miss title from Adult Swim, this game puts players in a role that requires them to carefully place hot dogs on the heads of passersby. It’s a game you have to play to really understand.